Why Didn’t Any Grownups Rush to Help This Child?

Heartbreaking video of an incapacitated mother and a child in distress on SEPTA's Route 66.

mother septa bus video

This video from SEPTA’s Route 66 bus in Philadelphia is currently making the rounds on Facebook. Shot on Thursday, it appears to show an extremely disoriented woman severely neglecting her child (the young girl calls her mama at least twice).

Commenters have suggested that she is under the influence of drugs, but the cause of her behavior is uncertain. Police say that the woman has been identified and that DHS and the Special Victims Unit are handling the case. As of Friday mid-afternoon, the woman was not under arrest.

As shocking as the mother’s behavior is, what is equally shocking is the lack of help provided by the other passengers during the four minutes of this video.

I spoke with the man who shot the video, Northeast Philadelphia resident John Warren. Here’s what he says happened after the video stops: “A man tried to get her alert but she wasn’t, so he went back to his seat. I got up to talk to the driver with the video proof, but the daughter started pulling on the mom, yelling ‘Our stop, our stop,’ and she got off the bus.”

UPDATE 3/7 7:10 p.m.: I asked Warren if he was sorry that he didn’t do more than record video for those four-plus minutes. His response: “Don’t see how the daughter had me pinned in the seat. It took me several tries to get her to let me up and even if cops were called the driver wouldn’t have known to stop and would they have? No one knows, and you could see the fear and confusion in the other peoples’ eyes about what exactly to do about this.”

Follow @VictorFiorillo on Twitter.